QUINCY -- Quincy Police Officer Tom Miller knocked on a door in the Indian Hills housing complex holding an envelop for a resident who lived there.
When she answered, the woman had a surprised look on her face, but it wasn't long before she was smiling.
The envelope contained a gift card for Hy-Vee to help the family buy groceries and gas during the holidays.
"You hear that buddy?" she asked as she turned to her son in the house.
Miller along with Justin Boyd, the department's fleet manager and traffic analyst, provided Hy-Vee gift cards to families and other unsuspecting residents as part of Operation Christmas Cheer.
The program funded by Stifel of Quincy and Hy-Vee provided $3,200 worth of gift cards that could be given to families that the department knows are in need and even random people walking down the streets or during a traffic stop.
This is the third year that the department has distributed the gift cards.
"Without Stifel and Hy-Vee we would not be here to do all this amazing stuff for the community," said Jennifer Kerker, officer manager for the Quincy Police Department.
Meeting in the squad room at the police department, Kerker briefed officers and other department employees who would be distributing them.
"If you see somebody with a family, you can stop them and wish them a happy holidays," Kerker said. "Maybe gas stations. Somebody may enjoy a $25 gift card."
A patrol officer, Miller knows that when most people interact with him, it hasn't been a good day for them.
"Nine times out of 10 when the police deal with the public, it's at the public's worst moment, so it's kind of nice to have a positive interaction with them," he said.
This is the first year Miller has been able to assist with the distribution and he saw the benefit.
"It's the holiday season and to me it's the right thing to do," he said.
Miller and Boyd visited one home where Miller knew the family was struggling financially earlier this year. After knocking on the door, he learned that the family had moved, but he gave a gift card to a woman in the home.
Starting to choke up, she thanked both Miller and Boyd who wished her a merry Christmas before moving on to hand out another gift card.